What’s an Audi SQ7 then?

In case there weren’t enough performance SUVs in the world, Audi has cooked up the new SQ7, complete with lots of power and lots of tech.

What do I need to know?

Power comes from a new 4.0-litre V8 diesel engine with no less than three turbos. Two sit between the cylinder banks – in the ‘V’ – and work in sequence, one for low revs and one for those moments when you mash the throttle into the carpet.

The third turbo is where things get really very clever. It’s the world’s first electrically-driven turbo, powered by a 48-volt motor that can spin the compressor up in less than a quarter of a second. It uses about 10bhp but, according to Audi: “With this solution, turbo lag is history.” A big claim.

There’s also variable valve lift, which opens one of the two exhaust valves when the low-revs turbo is running, while both open at high loads. And active flaps in the exhaust unleash more noise.

The net result is 435bhp and 664lb/ft. 0-62mph takes just 4.8secs, with top speed limited to 155mph. Audi also claims fuel economy of 38mpg and Co2 emissions of 194g/km.

Incidentally, this is not the most powerful diesel engine Audi has ever put in a Q7. That dubious accolade goes to the old 6.0-litre V12 monster. But that was both slower (blame a big chunk of extra weight) and handled like a rocket-powered bus. The SQ7, though, should handle like a Caterham in comparison.

The 48-volt system needed for the electric turbo has allowed Audi to use the same high-tech roll stabilisation system found on the Bentley Bentayga. Running straight ahead, the anti-roll bars are disconnected for greater comfort, but reconnect in turns for better agility. Similar hydraulic systems have existed for a while, but the SQ7’s 48-volt system is faster and lighter.

Each axle is controlled independently, too, which allows the computers to work out the optimum cornering balance. It’s all very clever, but the proof will be in the driving.

Anything else?

The SQ7 is available with five or seven seats and comes loaded with pretty much the entirety of Audi’s gadget catalogue. Not to mention sportlicherer styling and wheel options up to 22in.

When can I buy one?

Order books open in spring.

How much does it cost?

UK pricing hasn’t been announced; in Germany it costs €89,900, or £69,500 or current exchange rates.

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By Only Motors